Magach 6B IDF conversion set
Kit # T72066
|Preview by Francesco Giovagnorio|
The Magach 6B Gal is a further improvement over the original M60A1, taking into consideration the experience derived from the Peace for Galilee operation, when the IDF fielded many M60A1 in the Magach 6B Bet version. The Gal optical system was installed, which needed a new and larger armored housing in front of the commander's cupola; a thermal sleeve also was installed on the original main gun, and a crosswind sensor mast was positioned on the rear left hand of the turret's roof. Other changes include a large stowage basket in the rear of the turret and 7. 62mm MAGs replacing the original Browning MGs. A later modification is the installment of Merkava tracks and sprocket wheels.
The parts came in a cardboard box typical of Black Dog productions. Quality of resin and casting are also typical of Black Dog productions.
This conversion set is intended for anyone wanting the build the 6B Gal starting from Revell M60A1/A3 kit.
The turret itself is a one-block affair with every ERA block already in place, along with the Urdan Cupola, optical system with cover, lift rings and gun shield with cover. The old Esci M60 Blazer seem to have been used as a mine for parts, as the Urdan cupola derives from that kit (although the hatch is separate and can be mounted open). The ERA blocks are entirely scratchbuilt (not the ESCI ones) and look very nice, with the typical "box-like" look on show.
The large stowage basket full with equipment is built in one block too with exceptional detail.
Earlier aluminium wheels to replace the Revell steel wheels are supplied, as well as Merkava tracks and sprocket wheels. The early-style aluminium wheels look like ESCI copies, so they are far from being perfect yet they do look sufficient. These kind of wheels have been progressively substituted by the later-style steel wheels (the ones supplied by Revell), so that the majority of Merkava 6B Gal show steel wheels, or even a combination of both. Aluminium idler wheels are supplied with some Merkava track links in place, so this looks like a forced choice if the supplied Merkava tracks are to be used. However, any combination is possible between aluminium and steel wheels, original sprockets/tracks and Merkava sprockets/tracks. Original tracks are the ones with octagonal rubber blocks, supplied both by ESCI and Revell (the later are obviously much better, with inner details and guide horns).
Other pieces are a new gun with thermal sleeve, the additional ERA blocks to be positioned on the glacis and around the gun, as well as important details like the MAG MGs, a combination of twin 12.7 Browning MGs with ammunition, the lateral 60mm mortar operated by the commander, the smoke grenade dischargers and a folded stretcher to be secured to the left front fender.
A welcome addiction is the instructor's chair behind the loader's hatch, which was only mounted during training sessions but it is good to see it included nonetheless.
Two photocopied pages are supplied detailing the whole lot of pieces with photos showing where to place them.
The crosswind sensor mast, which is typical of Magach 6B Gal, is sadly missing, as are some other bits and pieces which should be added, such as three rings on the Urdan cupola, a support for ammo boxes and a container for commander's personal belongings, the latter two to be positioned on the rear section of turret roof.
Another inaccuracy is not Black Dog's fault. Air filters in Revell upper hull are molded in-place and can not be replaced without seriously damaging the piece, while they should be because they are the later-type top-loading filters, while every IDF M60A1 has the earlier-type side-loading filters. This means that the Revell M60 hull can not be used to reproduce a Magach 6.
This conversion set is an absolute must for anyone interested in IDF vehicles, provided that he accepts the fact that these resin sets require a good deal of work and additions to obtain the desired result, which can be fantastic. Unfortunately, Revell M60 is not a good starting point because it reproduces a later vehicle. The old Esci M60 would be a better choice, but it is OOP and never re-released, moreover it has some faults which are detailed here and need some extra work.
Sample kit bought by author.